World Ostomy Day 2021 in Vienna / Austria

At the WOD, it was particularly important to us to set a visible sign with our information stand in the park in front of Vienna’s city hall. In accordance with the motto of the EOA, we wanted to draw attention to the rights of us ostomates. For the implementation, we found some ideas on the website of our colleagues from the Czech Republic.

Upon approval from the City Administration, we announced our campaign by means of an APA press release. Partner organizations supported us promoting the event on their media channels. Our WOD flyer in postcard size shows the statue of Waldmüller, an Austrian painter, the right lower abdomen marked with an X in the ostomy region. The Charta and a case story showing how helpful it can be to get information before a surgery are on the back of the flyer.

Our campaign in the park started with a bright autumn day just in front the X-marked statue. Several display boards identified with our logo and new QR-Code were distributed to advertise our stand. This along with many colourful balloons with stickers of our slogan showed visitors and interested parties the way from the park entrances to us. Throughout the day, we heard a frequent question from people of all ages passing by: “What is that, an ostomy?”. This then resulted in many clarifying and interesting conversations. Members from the stoma self-help groups in Vienna and Lower Austria visited us, as well as members of partner organizations, representatives of Healthcare Companies and employees of care and supply facilities. The numerous benches in the park in front of our WOD stand invited to linger and talk.

One of the event’s highlight was the reading by Rita Hofmeister, who for the first time presented some passages from her stoma encouragement book entitled “Live well with a bag on your belly”, which will be published in spring 2022. With admirable openness, Rita describes many situations from the early days after her stoma surgery and we were very moved by her coming out. Together with our chairwoman Margit Kirnbauer, we thanked the young writer for her special commitment and all visitors for their interest and solidarity with us and our association.

The ILCO chocolate pralines with the motto “A stoma is not taboo!” and the reference to were also well received everywhere and the colourful balloons gradually delighted numerous children. I think we succeeded with our ILCO campaign for the WOD 2021, bringing our life with a stoma and our rights out of the taboo zone into the public and making it more visible.

Susanne Deimel-Engler, November 2021